492 HISTORY OF PERSIA CHAP. When commercial questions arise, it is usual to appoint two arbitrators, one from each side, who go into the question with care, and as a rule their decision is just. The merchant class is, indeed, the most trustworthy in Persia. In conclusion, it is to be noted that no record is kept of sentences passed, or of the reasons for which they were passed, under either the religious or the secular law. Punishments.—Punishments are still very cruel, every torture imaginable being practised. A new ruler frequently tortures the first gang of brigands that he captures, not from cruelty but in order to inspire terror. Gradually, however, European influence is humanizing Persian justice, and fewer cases of burying alive in mortar, shoeing with horse' shoes and similar punishments are now heard of. The universal punishment of the sticks, better known in Europe as the bastinado, cannot be passed by without notice. It is inflicted on the highest and on the lowest; and in Persia there is no great loss of dignity in undergoing the punishment Some twenty years ago the Kawam-ul-Mulk, the hereditary mayor of Shiraz, was ordered the sticks by the Governor-General. In his honour a silk carpet was spread on the ground. The punished man is said to " eat sticks." It must be recollected that in a poor country like Persia it is im- possible to have well regulated prisons ; and consequently the more summary the punishment the better, if only the decisions were inspired by justice, and not influenced by money. Revenue.—In dealing with the question of revenue, it may be convenient to take a special province as an example ; and for this purpose I select Khorasan, with which I am best acquainted. Revenue was, and still is,1 collected under the follow- ing heads : 1. Taxes on crops and garden produce. 2. Taxes on tradesmen, artisans, etc. 3. Poll-tax. 1 The revenue was not taken over by the Belgians until 1913, and at present it is generally being levied on the old lines, with a gradual improvement of methods.